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A sport is an organized, competitive, entertaining, and skillful physical activity requiring commitment, strategy, and fair play, in which a winner can be defined by objective means. It is governed by a set of rules or customs. In sports the key factors are the physical capabilities and skills of the competitor when determining the outcome (winning or losing). The physical activity involves the movement of people, animals and/or a variety of objects such as balls and machines or equipment. In contrast, games such as card games and board games, though these could be called mind sports and some are recognized as Olympic sports, require primarily mental skills and only mental physical involvement. Non-competitive activities, for example as jogging or playing catch are usually classified as forms of recreation.

Physical events such as scoring goals or crossing a line first often define the result of a sport. However, the degree of skill and performance in some sports such as diving, dressage and figure skating is judged according to well-defined criteria. This is in contrast with other judged activities such as beauty pageants and body building, where skill does not have to be shown and the criteria are not as well defined.

Records are kept and updated for most sports at the highest levels, while failures and accomplishments are widely announced in sport news. Sports are most often played just for fun or for the simple fact that people need exercise to stay in good physical condition. However, professional sport is a major source of entertainment.

While practices may vary, sports participants are expected to display good sportsmanship, and observe standards of conduct such as being respectful of opponents and officials, and congratulating the winner when losing.

Etymology and meaningEdit

"Sport" comes from the Old French desport meaning "leisure." American English uses the term "sports" to refer to this general type of recreational activity, whereas other regional dialects use the singular "sport". The Persian word for "sport" is based on the root bord, meaning "winning". The Chinese term for "sport," tiyu (体育; 體育) connotes "physical training". The Modern Greek term for sport is Αθλητισμός (athlitismos), directly cognate with the English terms "athlete" and "athleticism."

The oldest definition of sport in English (1300) is of anything humans find amusing or entertaining.[1] Other meanings include gambling and events staged for the purpose of gambling; hunting; and games and diversions, including ones that require exercise.[2] Roget's defines the noun sport as an "Activity engaged in for relaxation and amusement" with synonyms including diversion and recreation.[3] An example of a more sharply defined meaning is "an athletic activity where one competitor or a team of competitors plays against another competitor or group of competitors [with] a conclusive method of scoring...not determined by a judge."[4]

HistoryEdit

There are artifacts and structures that suggest that the Chinese engaged in sporting activities as early as 4000 BC.[5] Gymnastics appears to have been a popular sport in China's ancient past. Monuments to the Pharaohs indicate that a number of sports, including swimming and fishing, were well-developed and regulated several thousands of years ago in ancient Egypt.[6] Other Egyptian sports included javelin throwing, high jump, and wrestling. Ancient Persian sports such as the traditional Iranian martial art of Zourkhaneh had a close connection to the warfare skills.[7] Among other sports that originate in ancient Persia are polo and jousting.

A wide range of sports were already established by the time of Ancient Greece and the military culture and the development of sports in Greece influenced one another considerably. Sports became such a prominent part of their culture that the Greeks created the Olympic Games, which in ancient times were held every four years in a small village in the Peloponnesus called Olympia.[8]

Sports have been increasingly organized and regulated from the time of the Ancient Olympics up to the present century. Industrialization has brought increased leisure time to the citizens of developed and developing countries, leading to more time for citizens to attend and follow spectator sports, greater participation in athletic activities, and increased accessibility. These trends continued with the advent of mass media and global communication. Professionalism became prevalent, further adding to the increase in sport's popularity, as sports fans began following the exploits of professional athletes through radio, television, and the internet—all while enjoying the exercise and competition associated with amateur participation in sports.

In the new millennium, new sports have been going further from the physical aspect to the mental or psychological aspect of competing. Electronic sports organizations are becoming more and more popular.

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SportsmanshipEdit

Main article: Sportsmanship

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Sportsmanship is an attitude that strives for fair play, courtesy toward teammates and opponents, ethical behaviour and integrity, and grace in victory or defeat.[9][10]

Sportsmanship expresses an aspiration or ethos that the activity will be enjoyed for its own sake. The well-known sentiment by sports journalist Grantland Rice, that it's “not that you won or lost but how you played the game," and the Modern Olympic creed expressed by its founder Pierre de Coubertin: "The most important thing... is not winning but taking part" are typical expressions of this sentiment.

Violence in sports involves crossing the line between fair competition and intentional aggressive violence. Athletes, coaches, fans, and parents sometimes unleash violent behaviour on people or property, in misguided shows of loyalty, dominance, anger, or celebration. Rioting or hooliganism are common and ongoing problems at national and international sporting contests.

Professional sportsEdit

File:OHL-Hockey-Plymouth-Whalers-vs-Saginaw-Spirit.jpg
Main article: Professional sport

The aspect of sports, together with the increase of mass media and leisure time, has led to professionalism in sports. This has resulted in some conflict, where the paycheck are more important than recreational aspects, or where the sports are changed simply to make them more profitable and popular, thereby losing certain valued traditions.

The entertainment aspect also means that sportsmen and women are often elevated to celebrity status in media and popular culture.

PoliticsEdit

At times, sports and politics's can have a large amount of influence on each other.

When apartheid was the official policy in South Africa, many sports people, particularly in rugby union, adopted the conscientious approach that they should not appear in competitive sports there. Some feel this was an effective contribution to the eventual demolition of the policy of apartheid, others feel that it may have prolonged and reinforced its worst effects.[11]

The 1936 Summer Olympics held in Berlin was an illustration, perhaps best recognised in retrospect, where an ideology was developing which used the event to strengthen its spread through propaganda.

In the history of Ireland, Gaelic sports were connected with cultural nationalism. Until the mid 20th century a person could have been banned from playing Gaelic football, hurling, or other sports administered by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) if she/he played or supported soccer, or other games seen to be of British origin. Until recently the GAA continued to ban the playing of soccer and rugby union at Gaelic venues. This ban is still enforced, but was modified to allow football and rugby to be played in Croke Park while Lansdowne Road was redeveloped into Aviva Stadium. Until recently, under Rule 21, the GAA also banned members of the British security forces and members of the RUC from playing Gaelic games, but the advent of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 led to the eventual removal of the ban.

Nationalism is often evident in the pursuit of sports, or in its reporting: people compete in national teams, or commentators and audiences can adopt a partisan view. On occasion, such tensions can lead to violent confrontation among players or spectators within and beyond the sporting venue (see Football War). These trends are seen by many as contrary to the fundamental ethos of sports being carried on for its own sake and for the enjoyment of its participants.

Physical artEdit

For example, figure skating, drum corps, artistic gymnastics, dancesport, and Tai chi can be considered artistic spectacles. Similarly, there are other activities that have elements of sport and art in their execution, such as bodybuilding, free running, martial arts, performance art, Yoga, dressage, and culinary arts. Perhaps the best example is bull-fighting, which in Spain is reported in the arts pages of newspapers.

All sports involve physical and mental activities that are pursued for more than simply utilitarian reasons. For instance, running, when done as a sport, occurs for reasons beyond simply moving from one place to another. Value is gained from this activity when it is conducted simply for its own sake. This is similar to the concept of aesthetic value, which is seeing something over and above the strictly functional value coming from an object's normal use. For instance, an aesthetically pleasing car is one which doesn't just get from A to B, but which impresses with its grace, poise, and charisma. In the same way, a sporting performance such as jumping doesn't just impress as being an effective way to avoid obstacles. It impresses because of the ability, skill, and style that is demonstrated in its performance.

Art and sports were clearly linked at the time of Ancient Greece, when gymnastics and calisthenics invoked admiration and aesthetic appreciation for the physical build, prowess and 'arete' displayed by participants. The modern term 'art' as skill, is related to this ancient Greek term 'arete'. The closeness of art and sport in these times was revealed by the nature of the Olympic Games, which were celebrations of both sporting and artistic achievements, poetry, sculpture and architectures.

TechnologyEdit

Technology has an important role in sports, whether applied to an athlete's health, the athlete's technique, or equipment's characteristics.

  • Equipment - As sports have grown more competitive, the need for better equipment has arisen. Golf clubs, bicycles, (American) football helmets, tennis racquets, baseball and cricket bats, soccer balls, hockey skates, and other equipment have all seen considerable changes when new technologies have been applied.
  • Health - Ranging from nutrition to the treatment of injuries, as the knowledge of the human body has deepened over time, an athlete's potential has been increased. Athletes are now able to play to an older age, recover more quickly from injuries, and train more effectively than previous generations of athletes.
  • Instruction - Advancing technology created new opportunities for research into sports. It is now possible to analyse aspects of sports that were previously out of the reach of comprehension. Being able to use motion capture to capture an athlete's movement, or advanced computer simulations to model physical scenarios has greatly increased an athlete's ability to understand what they are doing and how they can improve themselves.

TerminologyEdit

In British English, sporting activities are commonly denoted by the mass noun "sport". In American English, "sports" is more used. In all English dialects, "sports" is the term used for more than one specific sport. For example, "football and swimming are my favourite sports", would sound natural to all English speakers, whereas "I enjoy sport" would sound less natural than "I enjoy sports" to North Americans.

The term "sport" is sometimes extended to encompass all competitive activities, regardless of the level of physical activity. Both games of skill and motor sport exhibit many of the characteristics of physical sports, such as skill, sportsmanship, and at the highest levels, even professional sponsorship associated with physical sports. Air sports, billiards, bridge, chess, motorcycle racing, and powerboating are all recognized as sports by the International Olympic Committee with their world governing bodies represented in the Association of the IOC Recognised International Sports Federations.[12]

Spectator sportEdit

As well as being a form of recreation for the participants, much sport is played in front of an audience. Most professional sport is played in a 'theatre' of some kind; be it a stadium, arena, golf course, race track, or the open road, with provision for the (often paying) public. Around 95% of males participate in sport or active based activity, while females have a rate of 45%. Template:Citation needed

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Large television or radio audiences are also commonly attracted, with rival broadcasters bidding large amounts of money for the 'rights' to show certain fixtures. The football World Cup attracts a global television audience of hundreds of millions; the 2006 Final alone attracted an estimated worldwide audience of well over 700 million. The Cricket World Cup is another sporting event which attracts a global audience. The 2007 Cricket World Cup attracted about 2.3 Billion viewers all over the world. In the United States, the championship game of the NFL, the Super Bowl, has become one of the most watched television broadcasts of the year. Super Bowl Sunday is a de facto national holiday in America; the viewership being so great that in 2007 advertising space was reported as being sold at $2.6m for a 30 second slot.

Youth SportsEdit

Participating in sports play a large role in a child’s life. NFL quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning and Mark Sanchez began their football career in high school.

The benefits of playing youth sports include:

  • Better grades
  • Less risk of drug or alcohol use
  • Chance at sports scholarships
  • Health Benefits

The biggest risk for youth sports is the increased risk of injury, including concussions and gym class injuries.[13]

See alsoEdit

References Edit

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  8. Template:Cite web
  9. Template:Cite web
  10. See, e.g., Joel Fish and Susan Magee, 101 Ways to Be a Terrific Sports Parent, p. 168. Fireside, 2003. [1] David Lacey, "It takes a bad loser to become a good winner." The Guardian, November 10, 2007.
  11. Template:Cite web
  12. Template:Cite web
  13. Time Magazine. Gym class injuries up 150% between 1997 and 2007. 4 August 2009. [2]

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